Firm mulls 140-MW hydropower plant in Davao

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Friday, February 21, 2014

A HYDROPOWER company is planning to construct a 140-megawatt hydropower plant in Davao City that will not only help alleviate the power need of Mindanao, but also ease the flooding problem in the city.

Oscar Violago, president of San Lorenzo Builders and Developers Group Inc., made a presentation to City Council last Tuesday about the company profile and the project they wanted to implement in the city.

In his presentation, Violago said the proposed hydropower plant will be located in barangays Gumalang and Lamanan in Calinan District. He said they will be sourcing their water mainly from the Davao River and only a fraction from Tamugan River.


He said they will be building a "low-dam" which is only about 209 meters thus the fear of most communities for possible flooding when the dam releases water during rainy season is far from happening.

Violago said that contrary to the fear of some, the dam could even ease the flooding problem in the city since they will be diverting huge volume of water from the Davao River to their hydroelectric dam thus decreasing the influx of huge volume of water directly to the Davao River especially during heavy rains in Calinan area.

The project cost is estimated to be around $500-600 million. The city stands to earn P300-500 million a year from taxes for the said project, Violago said.

The San Lorenzo Builders was behind the $680-million Casecnan Multi-purpose Irrigation and Power Project in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija which is now a first-class municipality.

The project is one of the largest irrigation and hydroelectric facilities in the Philippines with a 26-kilometer transbasin tunnel. It provides electricity to 350,000 homes and irrigation water to 137,000 hectares of farmlands.

Just recently, the Climate Change and Clean Energy Project spearheaded by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Department of Energy and funded by the US Agency for International Development made an assessment stating that over 800 megawatts (MW) of biomass and hydropower may be tapped in Mindanao.

The assessment stated that "there is a potential 20 megawatts (MW) that can be generated from all the identified river sources.”

The regions of Caraga, Soccsksargen and Davao were found to have 12 potential sites for hydropower plants. The assessment does not include the proposed 140MW hydropower plant of Lorenzo Builders though.

The Mindanao grid currently requires about 1,400 MW and runs a deficit from 100 MW to 200 MW.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 21, 2014.


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